New works by 37 of Britain’s contemporary composers have been nominated for the 2018 British Composer Awards.

The nominations fall into 12 categories including orchestral, jazz, sonic art, chamber ensemble, stage works and wind or brass band.

Many of this year’s works give a voice to marginalised or disadvantaged groups in society, such as Solace by Conall Gleeson, written for an orchestra in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Others take inspiration from other art forms, such as Dee Isaacs’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which applies the themes of Coleridge’s poem to the plight of refugees today.

A record-breaking year for entries, 2018 saw over 560 submissions. ‘As ever it’s hugely exciting and inspiring to see the fresh passion represented by our first-time nominees,’ said Crispin Hunt, chair at BASCA. ‘Congratulations to everyone nominated.’

The winners in each category will be announced at a ceremony at the British Museum on 4 December 2018. Presented BBC Radio 3’s Andrew McGregor and Sara Mohr-Pietsch, the ceremony will include a performance in memory of nominated composer Oliver Knussen.

This year’s nominees are:

Amateur or Young Performers

(Works for voluntary, amateur or youth choirs and ensembles)

  • Fiery Tales by Richard Bullen
  • Microscopic Dances by Oliver Searle
  • The Caretaker’s Guide to the Orchestra by Jeremy Holland-Smith

Chamber Ensemble

(Six or more instruments or voices written for one player or voice per part)

  • Libro di fiammelle e ombre by James Weeks
  • O Hototogisu! by Oliver Knussen
  • Tanz/haus : triptych 2017 by James Dillon


(A cappella or accompanied, except works for choir and orchestra)

  • In the Land of Uz by Judith Weir
  • Mielo by Raymond Yiu
  • Unending Love by Roxanna Panufnik

Community or Educational Project

(Works demonstrating a composer’s work in community engagement alongside compositional craft)

  • Solace by Conall Gleeson
  • The Rime of the Ancient Mariner: a retelling for our times by Dee Isaacs
  • The Umbrella by Liam Taylor-West

Jazz Composition for Large Ensemble

(Nine or more instruments or voices that contain interactive improvisation as an essential element)

  • Afronaut by Cassie Kinoshi
  • Rituals by Matt London
  • Time by Finlay Panter

Jazz Composition for Small Ensemble

(Up to eight instruments or voices that contain interactive improvisation as an essential element)

  • Close to Ecstasy by Simon Lasky
  • Vegetarians by Ivo Neame
  • You’ve Got to Play the Game by Johnny Richards


  • Deep Time by Harrison Birtwistle
  • Recorder Concerto by Graham Fitkin
  • The Imaginary Museum by Julian Anderson

Small Chamber

(Three to five instruments or voices written for one player or voice per part)

  • Chant by Charlotte Bray
  • Lines Between by Robert Laidlow
  • Unbreathed by Rebecca Saunders

Solo or Duo

(Instrumental or vocal music performed by one or two players or voices)

  • A Damned Mob of Scribbling Women by Laura Bowler
  • Belmont Chill by William Marsey
  • The Harmonic Canon by Dominic Murcott

Sonic Art

(Sound art installations, electronic music and works with live electronics)

  • Halfway to Heaven by Emily Peasgood
  • The Otheroom by Rolf Wallin
  • Two Machines by Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian and Hugh Jones as ‘Crewdson & Cevanne’

Stage Works

(Works specifically written for the stage, including opera, dance and musical theatre_

  • Shorelines by Oliver Coates
  • The Exterminating Angel by Thomas Adès
  • The World’s Wife by Tom Green

Wind Band or Brass Band

  • Dark Arteries Suite by Gavin Higgins
  • Mindscapes by Lucy Pankhurst
  • The Turing Test by Simon Dobson

Works eligible for the 2018 British Composer Awards must have received a UK premiere between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018. Works are also composed by a composer born in the UK or ordinarily resident in the UK.

The British Composer Awards are presented by BASCA and sponsored by PRS for Music. The event is in association with BBC Radio 3 providing exclusive broadcast coverage.